Published: 00:00, 18 April 2019
Elliot Bradbrook insists nothing will take the gloss off his glittering Dartford career.
The former Darts skipper will bid farewell to the game when he retires at the end of this season – but he could have already kicked his last ball for the club after picking up a calf injury last weekend.
It’s not the fairytale ending Bradbrook envisaged but he knows there’s little room for sentiment in football.
“I’ll be gutted,” admitted the 34-year-old about the prospect his Darts career may now be over.
“I was so confident a few years ago when we came back into this league that my last game would be lifting a trophy to take this club back up.
“That hasn’t happened but we can still win our last three games and get in there and something special could happen.
“Sometimes careers finish lifting trophies and sometimes they finish losing 1-0 at home to Chippenham, that’s what it is.
“I’m a tough-minded person, I can take that. It is what it is, I couldn’t have done any more throughout my career and I’ve got no regrets.
“What will be will be sometimes. The football gods either smile on you or they don’t, and that’s the way it is.”
Bradbrook has made 444 appearances and scored 142 goals since making his first Darts outing in 2009.
“This is my 10th season, it’s been everything to me,” he stated. “Lots of players have come and gone but this was my home and this is where I wanted to spend my career.
“I’ve been very lucky to do that. It’s a fantastic club and it’s going to have lots of success in the future. We’ve had lots of success in the past as well and I’ve been privileged to be part of that, trophies and getting promoted into the Conference.
“The club has given me as much as I’ve given it. I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve been fortunate to have been part of the club and to have given something back to it really.
“There’s been so many highlights but getting promoted when we won the play-off final against Welling was my best day for the club.
“You cling on to those moments. I was so sure that was the way it was going to finish for me and it hasn’t quite happened.
“You keep thinking they are going to happen again but that was eight years ago now and I’ve played a lot of games since then and come off very disappointed a lot of times.
“The good times don’t come around very often but I remember them fondly.”
Bradbrook sees his future away from the game; his young family will take up much of his spare time and he doesn’t envisage a Joe Healy-type role in the future.
“My involvement will be coming back here to watch and I’ll enjoy that when the big games roll around,” he said.
“I’m not one for coaching or management and I can’t say I’m going to be fit like Joe after not playing for months and put in performances like he’s done for us.
“I just hope I can fit into my clothes in six months’ time!”
More by this authorMatthew Panting